Building and Fire Safety project
Building safety has been brought to everyone’s attention following the awful tragedy at Grenfell Tower in 2017. After the fire, there was a public enquiry which discovered the reason the fire spread so quickly was partly due to the unsuitable cladding and insulation used on the outside of the building.
A key recommendation from the enquiry was that all buildings over 18 metres high (about 6 stories) needed to be inspected to check if the cladding and insulation is safe. The government later issued a revised notice saying that all multi-occupied residential buildings under 18 metres in height needed to be inspected as well.
The scope of the problem
These recommendations had major implications across the UK as they potentially affected millions of residents and tens of thousands of buildings. Landlords had to identify any buildings that may be affected, then carry out the necessary inspections.
This has led to a huge demand on the small amount of qualified fire safety experts who are needed to carry out the inspections. The problem was made even more complicated by changing government legislation and the decision to extend the inspection programme to buildings under 18 metres.
What have we done so far?
- Set up a dedicated building safety programme and recruiting more people to help manage the scale of the problem including project managers, building safety managers and resident liaison officers.
- Carried out full inspections of nearly all our tall buildings, identified which ones are at a higher risk and implemented interim fire safety measures such as waking watches.
- Explored different fire safety funding options through discussions with contractors, applications for the government’s Building Safety Fund and looking at NHBC warranty and insurance providers’ guarantees.
- Lobbied the government to release extra funding, provide clarity around building safety guidance and offer ways to unstick the lending market.
We are prioritising our tallest buildings first. Once these are complete, we will move onto further phases of the project which will include buildings below 18 metres. We estimate that the project will take around five years to complete.
There are 10 specialist contractors now sitting on a framework, ready for us to appoint quickly and effectively. They will carry out the remediation work needed for the fire safety programme.
We are one of the first housing associations to introduce a framework. The process has taken over a year, during which time we’ve scrutinised numerous contractors, ensuring they meet a set of strict guidelines.
David Lingeman - Director of Property Services
“For us at A2Dominion, there are two clear priorities for the Building and Fire Safety project: making our buildings safer, and ensuring people are able to get mortgages for their homes, so that they can move house.
“The recommendations that came out of the review now form the Building Safety Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, and will probably become law early next year. We're trying to get ahead and work out what we've got to do to improve our existing buildings to make sure they’re fully compliant with the new law.”
“The people we recruit will play a vital role in keeping our customers safe, both now and in the future.Job profiles